360 feedback surveys also referred to as multi-rater feedback, 360-degree feedback survey, or multi-source assessment, are a survey tool that provides feedback from an employee's peers, subordinates, and superiors. In some cases, it can include an employee's self-assessment as well as feedback from outside sources, such as vendors or customers. The term "360" refers to a circle in which the employee is in the middle of the circle, with feedback coming from all around.
The 360 feedback survey helps management plan training and development modules. In other cases, companies use the results from a 360-degree survey as an evaluation assessment to make employee administrative changes, such as pay changes or promotions. When used for this latter purpose, this survey tool is referred to as the "360-degree review". Constructed through the use of survey software, a 360 feedback survey is designed to obtain broad and comprehensive feedback concerning an employee’s responsibilities and core competencies, both of which are valuable components of the on-going success of any business.
The uses of the 360 degree feedback survey are varied and many. As mentioned, this survey tool is a solid resource for employee development, including performance appraisal, pay increases, bonus allocation and promotions. However, the 360-degree survey can play a smart role in training needs assessment, including evaluation of your company's training effectiveness. This multi-source assessment survey tool can provide you with insight into your organizational climate and the attitudes of your employees. When designed as part of an online survey, the 360 feedback survey can take the form of a employee satisfaction survey.
360 feedback surveys are typically designed by developing a questionnaire using survey software. Questions can be rated on a scale, such as a 5 point scale. The questions can be specific to measure various dimensions of an employee's job performance, such as communication, decision making, leadership and teamwork. Whether your employees are scattered over different locations or you simply want convenience, having a 360 feedback online survey accessed through the web is an accommodating and user-friendly way to administer this type of online surveys. When developing your 360 multi-source assessment survey, be sure to include enough questions to obtain solid and comprehensive feedback, which can include as many as 50 to 100 questions. When gauging the estimated time to complete the online survey, allow approximately one minute per question. Question types should be varied and include scaled and closed-end questions. One or more open-ended questions are recommended to be included to solicit written feedback.
From an employee's performance perspective, 360-degree feedback surveys provide a more complete picture of the employee's day-to-day and long term performance. Not only does this survey tool provide guidance on the areas and skills that an employee needs to further develop, but the entire process can motivate the employee to improve performance. 360 feedback surveys demonstrate to the employee that their views and opinions matter.
From an overall organization standpoint, the 360-degree feedback survey helps to provide a competitive advantage. With improved employee performance, comes increased efficiencies and reduced costs. Customer service may be improved when specific feedback is offered to employees. All-in-all, studies estimate that over one-third of all United States companies use some sort of multi-source feedback, with this statistical estimate being significantly higher for fortune 500 firms. With the availability of online survey software and online surveys administration of 360 feedback surveys are becoming very easy to develop and proving to be a valuable resource for US companies.